Cooker hoods have become one item in the kitchen that you can really make a statement with. Top-of-the range statement hoods can cost well over £1000 so be careful when buying something that looks similar but costs a lot less – they’re usually badly made. As a rule try to stick to one of the better known brands – if there is one item in the kitchen that is prone to breaking down it’s the hood. As a designer I’m not particularly excited about having an “out-there’’ cooker hood as they tend to date pretty quickly and it’s an expensive item to change once the trends move on. So, often I think it’s best to go for a concealed/integrated or canopy hood – telescopic hoods are really smart as they only project into the room when in use and are otherwise inconspicuous.
What makes a kitchen memorable is what happens in it, and we should be doing everything possible to not only sit down and eat together, but to also cook together. Start with something really simple like having an extra chef`s knife around for eager sous chefs. For full-on remodeling projects, think about how you want the space to flow and accommodate a gaggle of helpers: maybe a custom center island on wheels? My budget version of that is felt pads under the legs of my small butcher block that allow me to slide it out toward the living room and get people chopping onions or greasing ramekins. This gives me room in the kitchen proper to accomplish the more involved acrobatics of throwing a serious dinner party.
You don`t need full sets of knives and cookware. A stockpot, a ten-inch skillet, and a two- or three-quart saucepan will cook most of the food you want to eat. Likewise with knives: after a chef`s knife or two, a paring knife, and a bread knife, any additional cutlery is just showing off. The trick is to make sure what you do have is of high quality. One really well-made knife is an investment that will last a lifetime, and it`ll help you love to cook more than you ever imagined. When choosing appliances, if space is limited, consider under-counter refrigeration and smaller dishwashers. My twenty-four inch stove recently kicked out a meal for thirty people. It is possible. Embrace the ideas of emptiness and space.
If you can’t physically make a kitchen bigger by knocking through to another room, there are small changes you can make to ensure you’re getting to most from the space you do have. Simple things like replacing your cupboard door fronts with thinner designs or choosing smaller appliances that fit under cupboards or easily inside them. Get rid of freestanding appliances such as fridges and install under counter fridges and freezers. This means you can give yourself more worktop space in the area which was previously taken up by a free standing appliance.
One of the most popular outdoor room touches you can explore is enclosing a gazebo or pergola in colorful outdoor curtains. These will have the effect of framing the outdoor room and creating a gentle perimeter, and they can also offer precious shade on sunny days.
Give your outdoor space a fresh face by sticking to a monochromatic palette. You can pull off a polished look without overdoing it. Choose the essential pieces (wirework round table, umbrella, stools) in a contemporary gray and white color scheme.
Always discuss socket positions with your electrician before they start work! Too many is better than too few. Always consider what splashback material you are using as sockets will increase the cost of some, such as glass, which is cut off-site by specialists – it’s easier to cut-around sockets if you’re using more traditional materials like wall tiles. Sockets should sit a minimum 150mm above worktops and always be installed by a qualified electrician.
Kitchen designers are a lot more affordable than you might think. If you want to get it right and get the best kitchen for your needs (and budget), hire a professional who can work all that out for you. You can create an almost bespoke kitchen by taking a kitchen off the rack and changing small elements such as handles and cupboard door fronts.
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